Why do it and how to do it well

This article reflects the conversations in the breakout group on this topic at the Recently Appointed Consultants symposium on Monday 22 February 2016.


Examining has a crucial role in standard setting and quality assurance of training and, for those interested in taking this on, it can be a very rewarding experience, in no small part because it is excellent CPD.

If you decide to take on an examining role there is a lot of information available regarding what is involved and how to prepare for becoming an examiner. Specific information about how to become a PACES examiner can be found on the MRCP (UK) website. The link to the website below contains details about the code of conduct and responsibilities of an examiner, as well as the application process. These are set out by the MRCP (UK) Clinical Examining Board and it is important to understand fully what the role entails before taking on the responsibility. Two of the key goals of clinical examinations are to improve patient safety and to ensure clinical care to a high standard. Over time, you can develop your techniques to become a particularly effective examiner in relation to these areas.

Another important component of being a good and competent examiner is developing an understanding of how a number of factors can affect the performance of candidates. It is vital that examiners should do everything possible to avoid bias and part of this involves an awareness of differential attainment between groups. It is particularly important to understand the fact that there are a large number of candidates across multiple cultures taking postgraduate examinations, such as MRCP (UK). Undertaking training in equality and diversity prior to becoming an examiner is mandatory and can help to ensure fairness in marking and minimisation of any bias even when this is subconscious.

PACES examiners

Breakout Group Leader: Dr Alan Patrick, Vice President, RCPE